Backup Basics

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Backup Basics

Backup Basics

Companies use computers to store everything from client information to financial data to health records. As a result, your data is one of the most valuable assets for your business. But you also must face the reality of life- hard drives fail, servers crash, and networks are compromised by a virus or a malware attack.

A robust business backup plan can determine how well your company will weather a data loss. Here is some information that will help you make good decisions where your backups are concerned.

Do I need special software to do backups?

No. Most operating systems come with some sort of built in backup solutions within them. These are often clunky and not very intuitive but they are there. Most companies will purchase a 3rd party software to handle this critical function with more grace.

Where should we store our backups?

On-site backup – This backup happens at the business location. The data is stored locally and never leaves the office. The benefit is that restoring data can be done quickly and without any additional steps. Typically on-site backups make use of an external hard drive or other storage device.

The downside is that with the backup located at the business, if the building is seriously damaged the backup is likely to be destroyed.

Off-site backup – This backup should be done to supplement an on-site backup. It’s simple- someone at the office carries a set of backups home with them on a regular rotation. Off-site backups provide a measure of protection in the event that the business location is destroyed or the local hard disks fail. However if the drives are lost or stolen, your off-site data is lost too. The other issue is that it often does not get done so that the data that you think you have off-site is simply not there.

Online backup – This is done by a 3rd party. It involves some manner of data transfer to a “cloud storage” location. The advantage of online backup is that it does not require anyone to manually disconnect drives or be responsible for the safety of drives in their possession. Also, as this task is generally automated, it will run without human intervention. Unfortunately, depending on the amount of data that you need backed up, it can take a long time to complete. You may have some concerns over the safety of your data when you do not know the people who have it.

What types of backup can I do?

Once we have decided on the location of the backup, every business needs to understand the type of backup being done. The following file types are available 1) Full 2) Incremental 3) Differential and 4) Full Image. There are others but these are the main four.

Full – In this type of backup, all of the files that are in selected folders are backed up each time this service is run. The benefit is that all files are backed up every session. The problems are that this takes a great deal of time and storage space and backup files that have not changed.

Incremental – This type only backs up files that have been changed since the last backup ran. So that what you have is a full backup the very first time you run the job and only changed files after that. This means that each backup after the first requires less time and storage than a full and also backs it easy for a file to be restored back to a particular date.

Differential – While similar to the incremental, this process backs up all files that have changed since the last full backup. This is kind of a mid-point between the full and incremental backups.

Full image backup – This backup is capable of creating a full image of your server or computer. If a failure occurs you can restore everything on the machine including files, database, and applications.

How often should we perform a backup?

While it may vary from business to business, we strongly suggest a daily backup at a minimum.

What is the best backup type for me?

Again, that will depend on your business…how much data can you afford to lose? How quickly do you need it restored.

Do you need help choosing the right backup for your business?

If you are still unsure what you need or how to go about setting it up, contact Gnosys Networks and we will do what we can to assists you with this vital function.